Iowa AG refuses to defend state abortion ban

Elias Hubbard
May 16, 2018

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America announced the filing of the complaint in Polk County District Court in Des Moines.

On the day Reynolds signed the bill, she said she anticipated it would "likely be challenged in court, and that courts may even put a hold on the law until it reaches the Supreme Court".

Bettis said the trio of groups is bringing the legal action in state court because the organizations believe Iowa's constitutional protections for abortion rights set out in an earlier telemedicine case before the Iowa Supreme Court are "as strong if not more so" than the federal constitution. Chapman and others hope U.S. Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican presidents from Reagan to Trump will ignore 45 years of legal precedents and find the U.S. Constitution does not protect a woman's reproductive choices.

A lawsuit asking the court to block Iowa's newest abortion law has officially been filed. The law is among the most restrictive abortion bans in the country.

The lawsuit names Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Board of Medicine as defendants.

"In the 45 years since Roe, no federal or state court has upheld such a risky law", Rita Bettis, ACLU of Iowa legal director, said in a statement. "In the 45 years since Roe, no federal or state court has upheld such a risky law". Reynolds signed Iowa's ban earlier this month and said at a public event in Davenport that she felt "very confident in moving forward with it". It argues the new law violates the Iowa Constitution.

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Iowa filed a lawsuit against the so-called "heartbeat law".

Exceptions include cases of medical necessity in a physician's judgment, rape that is reported within 45 days, incest reported within 140 days, or where a physician certifies a fetal abnormality that is "incompatible with life".

If and when Iowa's fetal heartbeat abortion ban takes effect, Quad-City patients seeking abortion services will need to travel about 90 miles to one of two family planning facilities in IL. The law does not allow a woman to access an abortion due to "psychological conditions, emotional conditions, familial conditions, or the woman's age".

"The cutoff period of this bill at around six weeks simply does not work for women".

The ban will, if the state executive council approves, be defended by the Thomas More Society, an anti-abortion legal group, the letter said. "It's also important to note that the exceptions in the law are essentially non-exceptions".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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